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The 43-year-old takes solace from the fact that his team stayed faithful to their own identity despite the unenviable task of facing the Catalan giants on home soil

Ajax coach Frank de Boer is proud of his team for taking the game to Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday, despite ultimately losing 4-0.

Lionel Messi netted a hat-trick for the Catalans while Gerard Pique also got his name on the scoresheet but, despite being on the wrong end of a one-sided result, the Dutchman was delighted with how his charges maintained their attacking style in the face of adversity.

"I really enjoyed our game at some points. We could find the free man in midfield and they didn't have an answer to that," he told reporters.

"We didn't only defend and that makes me proud. You know that Barcelona have troubles when the opponent puts on the pressure.

"We created just as much chances as Barcelona before half-time but it's a shame that we conceded a goal so close after the break."

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